Presentation on theme: "Nano(bio)technology: ethical aspects Dr. Johann S. Ach Bioethics Centre (CfB), University of Münster."— Presentation transcript:
Nano(bio)technology: ethical aspects Dr. Johann S. Ach Bioethics Centre (CfB), University of Münster
1.Background 2.What is Nano(bio)technology? 3.The futuristic discussion 4.The realistic discussion 5.In need of Nano-Ethics?
1 Background Results of a literature survey on ethical issues of NBT prepared at the CfB comissioned by the ethics board of Nano2Life Nano2Life is a European Network of Excellence, 23 partners from 12 European Countries no in-depth analysis but a study of the current status of the discussion
2 What is Nano(bio)technology? Nanotechnologies are the design, characterisation, production and application of structures, devices and systems by controlling shape and size at the nanometre scale (Royal Society & Royal Academy of Engineering 2004) No commonly accepted definition of NT/NBT NT as a toolbox NBT as a toolbox of techniques for analysis, design, synthesis and engineering of organic and anorganic systems at the nanoscale
Current and possible applications of NT/NBT current: Sunscreens and cosmetics; composites; clays; coatings and surfaces; tougher and harder cutting tools short-term: paints; remediation; fuel cells; displays; batteries; fuel additives; catalysts longer-term: carbon nanotube composites; lubricants; magnetic materials; medical implants; machinable cheramics; water purification; military battle suits Source: Royal Society & Royal Academy of Engineering 2004
3 The futuristic discussion lego-argument: Can we build everything from single atoms? ( nanobots, nanoassembler) apocalypse-argument: Devastation of men and earth ( grey, green and black goo- scenarios)? cyborg-argument: men and mashines ( transhumanism) powerful visions, which will shape the future development of NT, even if there realizabilty is highly questionable
4 The realistic discussion Biomedical Ethics Enviromental concerns Impacts on Society Anthropological concerns
Biomedical Ethics gap between diagnostic and therapeutic options ( DNA-chips) discrimination ( individualization of diagnosis and therapy; cultural groups, e.g deaf community) confidentiality, data protection, privacy ( nano-sensoric in vivo-diagnostic devices; technologies that enable rapid identification, location tracking, and condition monitoring through implantable microchips)
Impacts on Society equity nano devide intellectual Property dual use ( military or terrorist ab/use of NT)
2001 one third of the budget of the national Nanotechnology Initiative was spent by the Department of Defence.
Enviromental concerns impacts on the enviroment release of nanoparticles ( risk assessment; what practical consequences should follow? moratorium? precautionary principle?)
Anthropological aspects reductionism ( the human body as a complex nanomaschine?) enhancement ( intelligence or sensory amplifyers) nature of the human being ( human- mashine-interface)
5 In need of Nano-Ethics? Debate on ELSA of NT/NBT is just beginning Many of the ethical and social challanges of NT/NBT are well known from other discussions – but old questions need not necessarily are bad questions – and many of them appear in a quite new light. Maybe no Nano-Ethics – but ethical reflection on NT/NBT – and the so called converging or NBIC-technologies
6 References Ach, Johann S. / Jömann, Norbert: Size Matters. Ethische und soziale Herausforderungen der Nanobiotechnologie. Eine Übersicht. In: Jahrbuch für Wissenschaft und Ethik 10, 2005 (forthcoming). Ach, Johann S. / Siep, Ludwig (Hgg.): Nano-Bio-Ethics. Ethical Dimensions of Nanobiotechnolgy. Münster: Lit 2006 (forthcoming). Paschen, H. et al.: Nanotechnologie. Forschung, Entwicklung, Anwendung. Berlin/New York: Springer Royal Society & Royal Academy of Engineering: Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties. London TA Swiss: Nanotechnologie in der Medizin. Bern 2003.